A new report shows the federal government ran a deficit of $5.2 billion over the first five months of its current fiscal year following a $10.9-billion jump in program expenses compared with a year earlier.
The preliminary numbers from the Finance Department says the higher program spending represents a year-over-year increase of 9.1 per cent.
In comparison, the federal fiscal monitor says the government posted a $2.6-billion surplus during the same April-to-August period last year.
The higher spending was largely due to a $6.2-billion — or 12.3 per cent — increase in direct program expenses as well as, to a lesser degree, larger transfers to individuals and other levels of government.
Year-over-year, public debt charges increased by $700 million — or 7.2 per cent.
Government revenues were up $3.9 billion — or 2.9 per cent — from the same period last year, an increase mostly due to higher personal income tax revenues and includes $18 million for the federal portion of cannabis taxes.
The Liberal government forecasted a deficit in last spring’s budget of $19.8 billion for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The Canadian Press